Using Sevens to upskill our players

Written by Chris Smith (ChrisS)

Posted in :All Blacks, Original Content, Sevens, Springboks on 28 Aug 2018 at 14:02
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I was reading an article recently about teenagers coming through the New Zealand 7’s programme and it made me think about the lack of skills in our players.

We can compete physically but our players seem to lack the ability to identify and use space effectively. The All Blacks have used 7’s to develop this spacial awareness in their players and Rieko Ioane is a perfect example of this. 7’s results in fitter, faster players who create and use space better as well as offloading in the tackle.

Imagine the difference that this would make to Sbu Nkosi, Mapimpi, Dyantyi, Hacjivah Dayimani, Andre Esterhuizen, de Allende…the list goes on. We can see the difference that their 7’s experience has brought to Seabelo Senatla and Kwagga Smith and it would be fantastic to see other players upskilled in the same way. This could lead to new levels in the Bok attack and a climb up the world rankings which is long overdue!

7’s is used as a career for South African players that aren’t likely to make the Bok team whereas it should be used to develop the skills of future Springboks and create a greater talent-pool of X-factor backs and forwards.


  • I will take your 7s idea and expand it to say why not scrap the u19 Currie Cup and the Supersport Rubbish Challenge and make a 10s tournament instead.With 10s there is still a lot of space but also includes the scrum/lineout set pieces for the heavies. U21 Currie Cup games to be Curtain Raisers for all Senior Currie Cup games and there should be an U20 Rugby Championship just like u20 6 Nations.

  • Comment 1, posted at 28.08.18 14:12:06 by SheldonK Reply
  • But with the regular 15’s schedule how will you work it in? Most of the guys we need to upskill will have to play SR cc and bok?

  • Comment 2, posted at 28.08.18 15:50:24 by coolfusion Reply
  • @coolfusion (Comment 2) : Think he is taking a long term viw of upskilling guys entering the pro game now so by the time they become Boks they have the abilities…hard to back track now altho we do contract way too many players

  • Comment 3, posted at 28.08.18 15:57:09 by SheldonK Reply
  • @SheldonK (Comment 3) : Ja might be true but by the time you are recognized as bok quality how much of fifteens have you missed? Is there an off season option? Would depend on the 7s schedule I guess. I’m thinking of guys like Cecil Africa and the likes.

  • Comment 4, posted at 28.08.18 16:01:14 by coolfusion Reply
  • @coolfusion (Comment 4) : Yeh tricky one with so much rugby on. Had a brief chat to the Sharks technical analyst and he was syaing that after their loss to Crusders in playoffs this year he spent some time chatting to guys involved in their organisation and was amazed to hear how much time the players individually spend on working on their own skills either before or after team trainings. In SA that doesnt happen, as soon as team trainings done guys are hitting the beach or doing business deals.

  • Comment 5, posted at 28.08.18 16:07:39 by SheldonK Reply
  • Sevens & Fifteens are worlds apart these days.

    Senatla has made zero impact in fifteens. Kwagga, as much as people love him, is also not a fifteen’s player.

    Andre Esterhuizen in 7’s. 😆 😆 Now that’d be embarrassing. I’d rather play 5 against seven. Or play a fat prop instead. Same thing.

  • Comment 6, posted at 28.08.18 16:24:29 by McLovin Reply
  • Looking at the one try where the All Blacks managed to keep the ball alive in the tightest of spaces in between a number of defenders – that is something that you will just never learn to do in sevens as your space will never be that constricted. 15’s players need to learn how to manipulate tight in your face defenses.

    Conversely players (especially outside backs) may benefit defensively from sevens to improve their one-of-one defense as you have to hunt down attackers.

  • Comment 7, posted at 28.08.18 16:38:45 by Bokhoring Reply
  • I think there are pros and cons for this idea. It can only upskill our players, so why not?

    @McLovin (Comment 6) : Kwagga did get rave reviews for the Baabaas game last year.

  • Comment 8, posted at 28.08.18 18:16:46 by StevieS Reply
  • @StevieS (Comment 8) : For me it’s not about cons it’s about planning. Sharks won’t let guys like am esterhizen and nkosi go during regular seasons. This are the guys we want to upskill. Yes you can argue it’s a future plan for new players but lets be honestmany of the guys who show themselves good enough to be premier league players get drafted very quickly upwards due to skills shortage in SA. So what then? They will be regular 15 players who have distinguished themselves and will therefore get trapped in a 15’s season. The only way I can see this working is if 7’s starts operating outside if the regular season. But that will be hard. Unless SR and CC has less games maybe.

  • Comment 9, posted at 29.08.18 07:21:29 by coolfusion Reply


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